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Wiard does ragtime
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Author Wiard does ragtime
I've been playing around with a Python script that can strip piano rolls into individual tracks. Then I can record them one at a time.

There is an earlier example on soundcloud, (of Brahms) but in this one all voices are Wiard 300, so it may be relevant here. Only addition is reverb courtesy of Logic.

If anyone can explain the uncanny sensation this creates, I'd like to know why. Perhaps it is just me thinking about the long dead performer sitting at an Ampico in the early 20th century, that was punching holes in paper with each note? And how those notes are now being given new "life"?

That is why I called it "Satan's Calliope".

absolutely fab. love it.

re the odd feeling have you heard John Adams Piano Rolls?
i love this as well.

fwiw, dkcg has given the entertainer a modular treatment as well, almost equally spooky:
Great! Absolutely SlayerBadger!

Maybe this is what Tomita did all the time when doing his classical pieces... lol
Thanks for the props! I put another one up: [s][/s]

I've not had a chance to hear the John Adams piece, just a little clip, and I see what you mean, something half-mechanical is inherently eerie.

The dkcg piece seems even more mechanical, perhaps it was a plain MIDI file he started with? The "orchestration" is quite different than what I came up with ...

Perhaps the hardest part is that there are so many possible sounds, and then you start to stack them up -- its exponential. There are several thousand rolls available for download, so orchestrating them is easily a lifetime endeavor.
eef, like that very much.

I'm thinking of having a go myself - I can see there are lots of sites with free midi piano rolls - are there any sites you would recommend in particular?

I enjoyed both of those a lot!
Thanks guys! I appreciate the feedback.

I think I got the piano roll midi files here:

At any rate he has a good list. A lot of information about the old technology can be found by poking around the Mechanical Music Digest, which I remember when it was on Now here:

The tool I used to generate mono tracks is here:

I see that he has added a keyboard splitting feature, though in a much different way than I did when I hacked it up a while back. One thing it still needs is to remedy a MIDI deficiency. It should have a way of letting you know how long a note will be before you begin playing it, so you can adjust the attack, or the vibrato or what have you (MIDI is kinda Piano-centric that way). Since these files are the opposite of "live" that is obviously doable, what is not so obvious is how to read the darn midi file time info. Once read, a controller message could easily be inserted with the appropriate value.

My workflow is basically to import all the tracks into Logic after splitting them, attach them to a particular MIDI output, then run them through a MAX patch I have that basically does what Volta or Silent Way would do (the tuning and mapping part of course). It is irksome enough that I am thinking of going ahead and springing for Silent Way, just so it would reduce the complexity of the system.

Then Mute all but one midi track, set an audio track to record, tweak up the patch, and we are off to the races! Repeat six times, and mix down.

One resource that I found valuable was listening to Wendy Carlos's album "Secrets of Synthesis". She talks a lot about how dense analog synths are, and how after 6-8 tracks it can turn to mud. She also describes a bit of her approach to "orchestration", including what she calls "hocketing".

I hope that is enough to get you started! As you can see I was able to overcome my selfish desire to keep these "secrets" to myself.
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